Discover the key differences between Thule Force and Motion cargo boxes in our comprehensive review. Find the perfect choice for your storage needs and vehicle aesthetics.

Thule Force vs Motion: Choosing the Perfect Cargo Box in 2024

Would you like to learn about the distinctions between the Thule Force vs Motion XT boxes?

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for extra storage space for your gear on road trips or camping adventures, cargo boxes by Thule are a great option. Two of the most popular models are the Thule Motion XT and the Thule Force cargo boxes. But what are the main differences between these two rooftop cargo carriers and which one is the best choice for your needs? Let’s compare the Thule Force XT vs Thule Motion XT  boxes.

 These roof-mounted cargo carriers, constructed from high-quality ABS materials and equipped with advanced features, have gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts. There is a lack of clarity regarding the distinctions between the two Thule cargo box models. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive analysis of these models to assist individuals in making an informed decision when selecting between them.

While it is possible to provide a comprehensive comparison of the Motion and Force cargo boxes through tables or descriptions, we recommend reviewing the specifications of each product to determine which one best meets your needs.

Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box

Our ratings


Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Box

Our ratings


Thule Force vs Motion: Review

1. Thule Motion XT Cargo Box

The Thule Motion XT is a premium rooftop cargo box that provides maximum space for transporting gear. It comes in five sizes: Alpine, L, XL, XXL, and XXXL, with capacities ranging from 16 to 22 cubic feet. The sleek, aerodynamic design helps reduce drag and wind noise. 

The Motion XT features a dual-side opening for easy loading and unloading from either side of the vehicle. The locking SlideLock system automatically locks the lid in place and lets you know when it’s closed securely with an audible click. The box attaches to most roof racks and crossbars using the PowerClick quick-mount system. Ease of installation and removal and the ability to hold gear for many different activities make the Thule Motion XT a highly versatile cargo solution.

What we like

What we don't like

2. Thule Force Cargo Box

The Thule Force cargo box is an affordable rooftop storage option with many of the same features as the Motion XT. It comes in L and XL sizes, with 13 and 17 cubic feet of capacity, respectively. The Force also includes a dual-side opening and the SlideLock locking system for security and ease of use.

However, the Force uses a different mounting system, and the lid and base are slightly thinner than the Motion XT. It’s also not quite as aerodynamic and may produce more wind noise at higher speeds. If you’re on a budget and need a relatively straightforward cargo box to transport gear for camping, hiking, skiing, or other sports, the Thule Force is a great choice.

What we like

What we don't like

Difference Between Thule Force vs Motion XT

To summarize, here are the main differences between the Thule Motion XT and Thule Force cargo boxes:

  • The Motion XT offers up to 5 more cubic feet of storage capacity than the Force. 
  • The Motion XT has a thicker, more durable construction and a more aerodynamic shape which reduces drag and noise. 
  • The Motion XT uses the PowerClick quick mount system for easier installation whereas the Force uses a different system. 
  • The Motion XT typically has a higher price point due to the premium features and build quality. 
  • The Force is a more affordable, basic option suitable for most needs but may not be as high-performing.

In the end, the choice between these two excellent Thule cargo boxes comes down to your specific needs and budget. If you want the ultimate in storage size, performance and convenience, the Thule Motion XT is probably your best bet. But for a simple, cost-effective rooftop cargo solution, the Thule Force will work great too. Either of these boxes will help ensure you have room for all your gear on your next big adventure!

Design and Appearance

The Thule Motion cargo box stands out with its sleek and aerodynamic shape. This design feature not only adds a touch of sophistication but also offers practical advantages. The aerodynamic shape of the Thule Motion reduces wind resistance and minimizes noise during your travels, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride. Additionally, the cargo box is coated with a matte black finish, exuding a sense of modernity and elegance. This sleek appearance complements the aesthetics of various vehicle types, enhancing their overall appeal.

In contrast to the Thule Motion’s modern and sleek look, the Thule Force cargo box sports a more rugged and adventurous design. With its glossy finish and robust contours, the Thule Force exudes a sense of strength and durability. This cargo box is a perfect fit for those who prefer a bolder aesthetic that aligns with their adventurous spirit. Whether you’re planning a rugged off-road excursion or embarking on a mountain adventure, the Thule Force adds a touch of excitement to your vehicle’s appearance.

Ease of Use

Both the Thule Motion XT and Thule Force cargo boxes are designed for easy loading, unloading and installation. The dual-side opening gives you access from either side of the vehicle so you can open the hatch without interference. The SlideLock system automatically locks the lid in place with an audible click, letting you know your gear will remain secure. 

However, the Motion XT does have an advantage with its PowerClick quick mount system which attaches to most roof racks in seconds. The Force uses a different mounting system that may require more adjustment to fit certain vehicles and roof racks. For the absolute easiest use and installation, the Motion XT is slightly better. But the Force isn’t difficult to work with either and will still provide a good user experience for most.


The maximum capacity of your cargo box is an important factor depending on how much gear you need to carry. The Thule Motion XT provides up to 22 cubic feet of storage space in its largest XXXL size, while the biggest Thule Force size is 17 cubic feet. So if you regularly transport extra long skis, snowboards or other bulky equipment, the Motion XT may be necessary.

For smaller loads, the Force L and XL models should work great and at a lower cost. Make sure to measure your actual gear to determine what size you need rather than going by the stated capacity alone. And keep in mind that the more you load up a cargo box, the greater the impact on fuel economy and handling.


The sleek, aerodynamic design of the Thule Motion XT helps minimize drag and wind noise, especially at higher speeds. Its tapered shape is more efficient for passing through air. The Thule Force is a bit more boxy in profile and may produce more wind noise and drag as a result.

If you do a lot of driving on highways or simply want the quietest rooftop cargo box, the Motion XT has the advantage. For shorter trips and lower speeds, either model should aerodynamically perform reasonably well. But over the lifetime of use, the differences may become more noticeable.

In summary, while the Thule Motion XT and Thule Force are both excellent, high-quality cargo boxes, the Motion XT provides the best combination of storage space, ease of use, aerodynamics and performance. If budget is less of a concern, the Motion XT is the ideal choice for a premium rooftop cargo carrier that will meet all your needs. The Thule Force, on the other hand, offers a simple yet highly functional solution at a lower cost for those on a budget.


The Thule Motion XT has a sleek, modern design that looks at home on the roof of any vehicle. The glossy finish and tapered shape give it a stylish appearance in addition to the aerodynamic benefits. The Thule Force has a more basic design and matte black finish that may not complement some vehicles as well, though it still has a clean, minimal look. 

For some, the styling factor is less important than other features. But if you do care about how your cargo box impacts the overall look of your vehicle, the Motion XT is the most stylish choice. At the very least, its design won’t detract from your vehicle’s styling like some more basic models from competitors.


Both the Thule Motion XT and Thule Force cargo boxes feature Thule’s SlideLock system which securely locks the lid in place and lets you know when it’s properly closed. This dual-locking mechanism deters thieves and prevents the lid from opening while driving for maximum security. Either model will safely protect your gear with minimal risk of break-ins or the lid opening unintentionally. 

The SlideLock system, especially the audible closing click, provides peace of mind that your cargo box is securely locked for the safety of your equipment and other drivers. For transporting high-value gear, you can add additional locks for even greater protection, though the standard locking mechanism is quite strong on its own.  


The Thule Motion XT and Force incorporate audible mounting gear to simplify the mounting process, and most users can install them within 5 minutes. Lift, place, adjust, and lock the box. For security and accuracy, invite someone else to install.

The audio mounting hardware will indicate when the clamps latch on the roof bars, preventing installation errors. The audible clamps prevent over-twisting and provide driving confidence. 

Roof racks are required before purchasing a rooftop cargo carrier, not only roof boxes. Roof racks? An article on roof racks, crossbars, and roof rails can answer this question. You may get OEM roof racks from your local auto dealer or online. Round, square, aerodynamic, and factory rack rooftop crossbars exist. Most roof boxes fit most crossbars, so don’t worry.


Thule stands behind the quality of all their cargo boxes and offers the same limited lifetime warranty for both the Motion XT and Force models. The durable, reinforced plastic construction is built to last with proper use and care. The warranty protects against any manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the product. 

While a higher-end design like the Motion XT may potentially last longer, with Thule’s lifetime warranty you can feel confident purchasing either model. In the unlikely event a part does fail or the product shows premature wear, Thule will repair or replace it to ensure you get the maximum lifetime use from your investment.


When it comes to choosing between the Thule Motion and Thule Force cargo boxes, price is undoubtedly an important factor to consider. Both models offer exceptional quality and functionality, but their price points may differ. Let’s explore the price aspect of these cargo boxes to help you make an informed decision.

The Thule Motion cargo box, with its sleek design and modern aesthetics, comes at a slightly higher price point compared to the Thule Force. This premium price reflects the added value you receive in terms of style, versatility, and convenience. The aerodynamic shape, dual-side opening, and larger capacity options make the Thule Motion an excellent choice for those seeking a cargo box that combines functionality with a touch of elegance. While it may require a slightly higher investment, the Thule Motion delivers exceptional performance and adds a stylish flair to your journeys.

If you prioritize durability and affordability without compromising on quality, the Thule Force cargo box offers an attractive option. With its rugged design and reliable functionality, the Thule Force comes at a more budget-friendly price compared to the Thule Motion. This cargo box provides ample storage space, secure locking mechanisms, and a single-side opening for easy access. If you’re looking for a reliable and sturdy cargo box that doesn’t break the bank, the Thule Force delivers excellent value for your money.

Thule Force vs Motion Final Thoughts

The Thule Force and Motion rooftop cargo boxes are both excellent options. Both products share several similarities, including the availability of three different sizes with identical volumes and load capacities. As such, it may be challenging to discern which option is the most suitable for your needs.

If one has a limited budget, it is evident that the Force is a more suitable choice. The price differential between the Motion and the alternative option ranges from $100 to $600, depending on the size. It is advisable to take this into account when arriving at a final decision.

In case of financial flexibility, would you opt for the pricier box? Prior to making a decision, it is advisable to contemplate the visual impact it would have on your vehicle. The Motion is offered in two color options, namely gray and black, both featuring a glossy finish. On the contrary, the Force is exclusively obtainable in a matte black finish. Which option would complement your vehicle more appropriately?

The variances observed between the two boxes are negligible and hence, need not significantly influence your decision-making process. If your sole requirement is a rooftop box for carrying luggage, it would be advisable to opt for the Force model. If you have an interest in technical specifications, aerodynamics, and sleek automobiles, then the Motion may be a suitable choice for you, provided that you are comfortable with the elevated cost.

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Daniel Wisdom
Daniel Wisdom

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